The polls will look different when they come out again in a couple days. Of course, this year the only poll that really matters is the last one following the regular seasons and conference title games. The surviving Final Four get a shot at the national championship. The others will go bowling for dollars elsewhere. Strike up the marching bands, but it really doesn't matter much.
Yet it was interesting how things played out today. As mentioned before in this space, it seemed very strange that the #1 team, Miss St. could be 8 and a half point underdogs to Alabama, ranked #5. But did anybody really think Miss St. was going to beat the Tide in a showdown game? Not me. Granted, Bama had to withstand a second half comeback to narrowly prevail 25-20, but a win is a win, especially against the so-called #1 team. Count Alabama amongst the top 4 when the new polls come out. Miss St. may or may or drop out of the magical quartet, but they're going to at least fall a notch or three.
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Elsewhere, #4 TCU held on by the thinnest of frog hairs to defeat unranked Kansas 34-30. Maybe they stay in the top 4 -- and maybe not.
Reigning champs and undefeated Florida St. has danced close to the flame several times this year. It's likely a pretty good bet that most folks outside of the Tallahassee area have been waiting -- and even hoping -- the Noles would finally get burned. But once again they came back from over a two touchdown deficit to defeat yet another team. This time it was Miami, 30-26. The 'Canes had numerous chances to "stop the chop", due to FSU turnovers and QB Jameis Winston throwing passes that would normally be intercepted. But Miami turned it over in key situations themselves, and dropped the easy "picks".
End result? Flor St. will definitely stay in the Top 4. And how could they not? They're the only remaining undefeated team.
By virture of sitting at home courtesy of a bye week, with Miss St.'s loss, Oregon will likely become #1. The Ducks have a couple patsies in Colorado and Oregon St. to finish their regular season. But then a Pac 10 conference championship game with #6 Ariz. St likely looms. This will be played in Levi's Stadium, in Santa Clara, home to the San Fran 49ers. Sounds fair enough as a neutral site between teams from Oregon and Arizona.
Yet somebody has to lose that game. Whoever does will likely fall out of the championship playoff picture. Oregon's only previous loss came at home to unranked and not-so-good Arizona, 31-24. On the other hand, Ariz. State's only loss was also at home, but they were blitzed 62-27 by UCLA. How can a team be ranked #6 when they suffered a 35 point beatdown at home? As this post is being written, the Sun Devils trail the woeful Oregon State Beavers in the fourth quarter. Even if they come back and win the game, this is not a good way to impress the pollsters.
The moral of the story? When it comes to who makes the Final Four, Oregon and Flor. St., appear to be almost locks. That only leaves two spots open and raises a few questions. Will TCU get in? Do you think they would have a chance against the Big Boys?
Will the Crimson Tide continue to roll, or might Miss St. bounce back in the SEC conference championship game? And what about Baylor and Ohio State, both one-loss teams that have been on a roll lately? Do they still have a shot?
Oops. Arizona St. just went down to the lowly Beavers. Color them gone.
Two more weeks of regular season mayhem and then the conference championship games. A lot can happen, and probably will.
And though yours truly is no fan of Nick Saban and his uppity ways, methinks when the dust has finally settled in January, Alabama's going to be champs again. Sigh.